Upcoming Important Dates from ISAC
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) would like to make you aware of the following information, which may be of interest to you and/or your students.
Unless otherwise noted, links in this message are to corresponding pages at ISAC's website (isac.org).
You may either scroll through the remainder of this message, or click on the appropriate link(s) to go directly to a specific section:
General Information (Not Specific to One Academic Year)
2020-21 July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021)
2021-22 (July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022)
July 28: Webinar
The following webinar for financial aid administrators will be offered later this month:
- July 28 at 2 p.m. (CT) – ISAC Operational Update and Review of Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver (SETTW) Processing in GAP Access
To participate in this webinar, visit the Partner Training page in the e-Library at isac.org to access the webinar link and presentation materials, both of which will be posted on the day of the session. Registration is not required for the webinar.
August 6: MAP Advising Data Due
The 2021 collection period for Monetary Award Program (MAP) Advising data – including advising and support program information and course completion rates – is now open, and data is due on or before Friday, August 6, 2021. As a reminder, both components of the required data are submitted through the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs (GAP) Access portal. Complete information is provided in a June 7 e-Message.
September 16: Next Commission Meeting
The next meeting of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. (CT) on Thursday, September 16, 2021. Further details, including a listing of tentative agenda items, will be available prior to the meeting via the ISAC's Governing Board: The Commission section of the About ISAC area.
Visit the Commission Meeting Schedule page for information regarding all meetings scheduled in 2021.
ISAC Student Portal Provides MAP Resources
- MAP Estimator (located in the Toolbox area) – students planning to attend an Illinois college may use this tool to get an idea of their eligibility for the MAP grant, and
- MAP Paid Credit Hours Display (located in the Program Applications & Status Checks area) – MAP grant recipients may use this option to track the number of MAP paid credit hours they have used to date.
ISAC staff will be unavailable for these holidays:
- Monday, September 6 – Labor Day
- Monday, October 11 – Columbus Day
Staff will again be available the first business day immediately following each holiday.
Although ISAC staff will be unavailable on the days listed above, the MAP system will be available during regularly scheduled hours and will reflect records processed by the Central Processing System (CPS) through the last business day immediately preceding each respective holiday. Results for payment requests submitted from 5 p.m. (CT) the business day prior to the holiday through 5 p.m. (CT) the business day following the holiday will be available via the MAP system on the morning of the second business day after the holiday.
Access the Financial Aid Administrators area anytime, or send an e-mail message to ISAC's School Services Department. With the exception of days when ISAC staff members are unavailable, we will review and respond to messages during regular business hours of Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CT.
August 6: Adjustments to Claims and Benefit Usage Data Due
Adjustments to cancel or reduce previously-submitted MAP claims, as well as Illinois National Guard (ING) Grant and Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) benefit usage data for all terms, will continue to be accepted through (including) Friday, August 6, 2021.
Remember that, due to the MAP payment offset process, only data reconciliation activities should take place until after ISAC has determined that all payment processing is final. At that time, colleges with an outstanding amount owed to ISAC will receive an e-mail notice indicating the total amount to be returned. Until then, no funds should be returned to ISAC.
August 9: Data Available for Historical View Only
Effective Monday, August 9, 2021, data for the 2020-21 processing cycle will be available for historical view only in the GAP Access component for each of the following programs.
As a reminder, reports continue to be available for colleges to access after data has been moved to historical view. However, after submitting adjustments, colleges are encouraged to always review the Payment/Benefits Results Exceptions report that is available the next business day.
The Illinois General Assembly passed a fiscal year 2022 (FY22) state budget in late May, and it was signed into law by the governor in late June. With the exception of MAP – for which the approved 2021-22 appropriation is $479,566,200, reflecting an increase of more than $28.2 million over the FY21 appropriation – the FY22 budget provides ISAC-administered programs and services with funding that is essentially level to FY21 amounts.
ISAC FY22 program operations are expected to again experience a "business as usual" processing environment. As such, we will continue to provide partners with updates and operational details regarding each of our programs as we proceed through the year. Be sure to regularly visit the ISAC Gift Assistance Programs area, where a "Program News" section for each program provides the most up-to-date information.
Students and borrowers seeking program information may be directed to the "Processing Updates" section of each program within the Grants, Scholarships, and Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Programs portions of the Students & Parents area.
MAP Recompute Formula
At its June 17, 2021 meeting, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission approved a recompute formula that increases the maximum 2021-22 MAP award from $5,340 to $5,496 and also increases the living allowance from $4,875 to $5,020. Additional details regarding the formula and its implementation are provided via e-Messages dated June 22 and July 6.
Now Available: ING Grant Application and Eligibility Data
The interactive application for the 2021-22 ING Grant Program is available for students to complete and submit online via the Program Applications & Status Checks area of the ISAC Student Portal. 2021-22 ING Grant eligibility data is available in the ING Grant system.
Specific details regarding the ING Grant system, including important reminders and guidelines, are provided at the ING Grant Electronic Processing page.
Now Available: Grant Programs for Dependents of Police/Fire/Correctional Officers Application
The application for the 2021-22 Grant Programs for Dependents of Police, Fire, and Correctional Officers is available for students to access via the Applications page of the Students & Parents area.
ED's DCL GEN-21-05, and Impact on Verification Process for ISAC's Programs
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) GEN-21-05 on July 13, 2021, announcing changes made to the verification process for the 2021-22 award year to provide relief to students challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce barriers to enrollment. For the remainder of the 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) processing and verification cycle, ED is waiving verification requirements for most FAFSA information, except for the identity/statement of educational purpose and high school completion status under verification tracking groups V-4 and V-5.
Consistent with ED's action, and effective July 13, 2021, ISAC is not requiring colleges to complete federal verification for students receiving ISAC program benefits for the 2021-22 award year, and advises schools to follow ED guidance in regard to when verification must be completed. However, colleges are still required to confirm Illinois residency for all students receiving ISAC program benefits for which Illinois residency is a requirement. Further details are provided in a July 16, 2021 e-Message.
FAFSA Still Available
The 2021-22 FAFSA is still available online, and – if not already done – should be completed and submitted as soon as possible by students who will be attending college between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. FAFSA results are used to determine eligibility for several forms of federal, state and institutional financial assistance, including the Illinois MAP grant.
Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid Available
Undocumented students meeting the criteria of the Retention of Illinois Students and Equity (RISE) Act may file the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid – which is patterned after the FAFSA and available in English and Spanish – to apply for the MAP grant. Further details are provided at ISAC's RISE Act page.
Remember that colleges have the ability to make corrections and submit professional judgment adjustments for students who have filed a 2021-22 Alternative Application. Details are provided in a March 23 e-Message.
ISAC creates Alternative Application Student Records for students who complete the Alternative Application. Access the School File Layout Specifications document – which includes Alternative Application Student Record field names, field lengths, and start and end positions for each data element – via the Electronic Tools page of the e-Library for Partners. Also available in the e-Library (in the Partner Training area) is the 2021-22 Operational Guide for Alternative Application Processing.
Continue Certifying Eligibility for MTI Scholarships Throughout the Year
As a reminder, the Golden Apple Foundation certifies eligibility for the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois Program. The college's role for the Golden Apple Scholars program starts with payment processing.
Further details are provided in a May 18 e-Message.
MTI Scholarship Applications Still Being Accepted
The 2021-22 MTI Scholarship Program application continues to be accepted, even though the March 1, 2021 priority consideration date has passed. Complete applications received after that date will be considered for the MTI Program only if funding remains after all applicants whose applications were timely and complete have been awarded. All minority students who meet the program's eligibility requirements should be encouraged to complete and submit the application as soon as possible.
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If you have any questions regarding this e-Message, please contact ISAC's School Services Department by calling toll free at 866.247.2172 or sending an e-mail message to email@example.com.